The Season of the Orange Rose is at Hand

After 55 years of great anticipation, the Season of the Orange Rose is at hand in Houston. Let’s hope that 2017 will be the joyously high time in which we all get to see it blossom in baseball as beautifully as this incredibly pictured example does in caring hands.

 

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Our Astros 2017 Playoff Starting Pitcher Candidates: Who gets the rose? And who gets the hose?

Justin Verlander is one of our two no-brainers for a rose – and he should be our #1 starter.

Dallas Keuchel is the only lefty. On the other hand, thank goodness one of our two “best shot/no-brainer starters is Dallas Keuchel – and he just happens to hold both baseballs and roses in his left hand.

Once we get past our two former Cy Young pitchers, we run out of easy roses in dealing with whatever else is to be for this important short-term rotation.

Lance McCullers is also as certain as his cantankerous back will allow him to be. It would be nice to see McCullers have one problem-free start prior to the AL playoffs. If that doesn’t happen, Manager Hinch bears the extra burden of deciding whether to risk using the young man in the third game of any first series – or at all, for that matter.

Brad Peacock becomes more lovable with each most recent appearance. This quiet-spoken young man and new father is now putting up one of the best records on the team or league as a steady and reliable starter. His stability offers some ease to the ongoing touch-and-go condition of young Mr. McCullers.

Charlie Morton is another steady influence too most of the time and a guy who also is putting up some some good team numbers. Morton and Peacock both have shared the “first responder” role that had to be filled when both McCullers and Collin McHugh were lost to the Astros for so much of the 2017 season due to injuries. The Question now is – will they be expected to start during the playoffs – or will they be moved into shoring up spots on the relief pitcher schedule? Morton hasn’t been used in relief by the Astros, so far.

Collin McHugh is hard for some of us to figure. Is he ready to be placed on the line as a starter in one of these do-or-die series that are coming up for the Astros in October? More gray-matter usage material is already in the lap of A.J. Hinch on that decision too.

We like Joe Musgrove exactly where he is now – in the pen. It seems to fit his temperament and stuff pretty well. He simply exudes greater command of his pitches as a reliever.

Mike Fiers ate a lot of starter innings during the season. I keep wishing he’d find that magic key that unlocks all of his ability on the mound that we know from previous starts he’s capable of using to the fullest extent, but that’s a rehab goal that has no room for trial as a playoff starter. We would prefer to see Mike used in relief only during the playoffs.

At any rate that’s our take, and without two answers that only Manager Hinch possesses. – How many guys will actually figure into the Astros starting rotation during the first round of the playoffs? – And who will they actually be?

2017 Houston Astros Playoff Starters Pool

# Pitcher W L ERA G/GS IP H BB SO HR
1 J Verlander 13 8 3.50 31/31 193.0 163 70 202 25
2 D Keuchel (L) 13 5 2.96 22/22 139.2 111 46 117 14
3 L McCullers 7 3 3.97 20/20 111.0 104 37 122 7
4 B Peacock 12 2 2.98 33/20 127.0 96 56 159 9
5 C Morton 12 7 3.75 23/23 134.1 117 49 154 11
6 C McHugh 3 2 3.44 10/10 52.1 50 16 48 6
7 J Musgrove 7 8 4.83 36/15 108.0 116 28 97 18
8 M Fiers 8 10 5.22 29/28 153.1 157 62 146 32

What do you think? How many starters will Hinch use? And who will they be?

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HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE RACES, GB IN EACH

THRU GAMES PLAYED THURSDAY, 9/21/2017

CLUB W L W%   AL   NL   WS
DODGERS 97 56 .634   ~   L   L
INDIANS 96 57 .627   L   ~   1.0
ASTROS 93 59 .612   2.5   ~   3.5
NATIONALS 92 60 .605   ~   4.5   4.5

 L = LEADER BY LEAGUE AND WS OVERALL.

Overall Leader gets home field advantage (HFA) in World Series.

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HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE SERIOUS CONTENDER SCORES

THRU GAMES PLAYED THURSDAY, 9/21/2017

WHITE SOX 3 – ASTROS 1

INDIANS 4 – ANGELS 1

BRAVES 3 – NATIONALS 2

DODGERS 5 – PHILLIES 4

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 AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

 THRU GAMES PLAYED THURSDAY, 9/21/2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 563 195 38 4 24 .346
2 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 484 161 23 4 17 .333
3 ERIC HOSMER KC 571 183 30 1 24 .320
4 JOSH REDDICK HOU 471 149 33 4 13 .316
5 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 553 174 51 6 27 .315
6 JOE MAUER MIN 499 155 35 1 7 .311
7 JOSE ABREU CWS 590 179 40 6 31 .303
8 LORENZO CAIN KC 553 167 26 5 14 .302
9 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 605 182 42 4 20 .301
10 YULI GURRIEL HOU 499 149 39 1 17 .299
       
OTHER TOP 40
RANK HOUSTON ASTROS TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
NR * CARLOS CORREA HOU 391 116 20 1 21 .297
13 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 430 126 30 0 22 .293
19 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 517 148 28 0 32 .286
24 ALEX BREGMAN HOU 518 145 36 5 16 .280

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

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